Chief, Mayor Call for Vigilant Citizens

Mobile’s police chief and mayor put out a plea to the public to protect against terrorism or mass shootings. They are asking citizens to be especially observant, and suspicious.

Police Chief James Barber and Mayor Sandy Stimpson say citizen awareness and a massive network of surveillance cameras are the city’s best weapons against a terror attack. They call the combination “Operation Shield.”

Mobile Police say their Joint Operations Center is the frontline against a terror attack or other mass shooting. A thousand different cameras around the city – both public and private – tie in here. But it’s only a part of the crime-fighting picture.

“See something, say something, and just don’t brush that off,” said Barber.

Barber says an observant and suspicious public is a must.

“We’ve got to be vigilant,” added Stimpson. “I mean, no community thinks it’s going to happen in their backyard. And it won’t happen as long as citizens pay attention to suspicious behavior.”

Just last week, a citizen downtown did.

“We had someone acting suspicious, he has a back pack on, was taking pictures, had a hood on that raised the tensions of somebody and so they made a call,” said Stimpson.

Using the camera system the man was apprehended

“We were able to locate and identify this individual and do a threat assessment,” said Barber. “It turns out that this individual was not a threat even though the activity was unusual.”

“We cannot to put enough police on the streets to protect us from every situation,” told the pubic at Tuesday’s city council meeting. He and chief put out a plea and assigned citizens a key role in protecting against terrorism.

“Today in our country, we cannot afford not to be very diligent about any suspicious about any lone wolf activity or any kind of radical beliefs,” said Barber.

Barber said Any business can connect their cameras to the city’s joint operations center. Police will also speak to resident groups and business owners about how to identify and report suspicious activity.

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